The 2014 World Superbike championship is set to go down to the wire in the final race of the season, after Sylvain Guintoli took the race one victory to close the gap to Tom Sykes to only three points.
Sykes’ French teammate Loris Baz was the early leader, but it was a different Frenchman who passed first Sykes then Rea and Baz to take the lead and control the race from the front.
Sykes fell back slightly towards the end of the race, after a hard move from Guintoli’s teammate Marco Melandri, but he was able to hold off Rea to the line. Team orders to allow him through into second were ignored by Loris Baz, however, who is set to leave the WSB paddock for MotoGP at the end of the season.
Melandri also played no further part in the race, dropping back in the closing stages to finish eighth, behind polesitter Davide Guigliano in fifth, Tony Elias in sixth and Chaz Davies in seventh.
The Crescent Suzuki duo of Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes completed the top ten despite still plagued with electrical problems, while Davide Salom finished thirteenth to take the first and last Evo championship victory.
“It felt good, and it felt right; I’ve been waiting for about fifteen years for that race! We’ve got to forget about all these calculations now – we can put ifs everywhere, but I just want to forget about it, put my head down, and enjoy riding the bike in race two!”